Tag Archives: cheese

bagel melts

mmmMMMmmm…bagel melts.  Pretty sure no better breakfast exists in the world.  Someone once asked me what my favourite sandwich is and I couldn’t answer but come to think of it the bagel melt must be it.  So it’s not really a really real sandwich.  All good by me.  It’s close enough in my books and consists of three loves of mine; breads, fresh vegies and, of course, cheese.  This one’s made with an everything bagel, roma tomatoes, dill, black pepper and mild but wonderfully melty marble cheese but they can be made with just about every flavour combination.  Try cinnamon raisin bagels with apple slices and mozzarella or provolone.  Or sesame bagels with roasted eggplant, red pepper slices and goat cheese.  One would have to try very hard to do any wrong with these…you can even nuke ’em!  That said, I strongly suggest the oven method – just slip them onto a broiling pan (I slipped mine onto the pizza stone currently occupying the oven) then into a 450 degree oven.  Once in turn on the broiler and leave the oven door open a smidge, not to keep the broiler for turning off (the bagels aren’t likely to be in there for that long) but because the cheese will go golden brown (which is when you want to take it out) very quickly and having the door open tends to make one acutely aware of the fact that there’s stuff going on in there they need to not forget.

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Pie for breakfast

Had an early morning out of town visitor roll in today and so needed something quick and tasty and with some semblance of nutritional value to serve for breakfast. Of course pie was the first thing to come to mind. That’s just the way I roll.

What you need:

2 deep dish pie shells

2 eggs

1 400g tub of ricotta cheese

1 600g bag of frozen mixed (or not…I like mixed) berries

1/4 cup of sugar

Angostura bitters

2 pinches of salt

2 pinches of nutmeg

2 tbsp margarine or butter

freshly ground black pepper

Get the pastries out of the freezer and set them on a baking dish or an actual pie plate so they come to room temperature. In a bowl whisk the eggs until frothy. To those add one pinch of salt, one pinch of nutmeg, 6 dashes of bitters and give the lot a good whisking again. Stir in the cheese until combined.

Toss the berries, the sugar, the other pinches, about 6 more dashes of bitters and a few good grinds of black pepper (I really like to taste the pepper in it so I gave mine 30 good grinds) in a bowl together. Move this mixture to the bottom pie shell. Dot the top of the berry mixture with butter or margarine then spread the egg/cheese blend over the top. Top with the second pie shell (don’t forget to pierce the top to let steam out) and bake in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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I don’t want to share

Mushrooms, cheese, seafood and anything which comes even vaguely hors d’oeuvre-shaped (not necessarily in that order) are my favourite foodstuffs ever, so when asked to bring the pre-meal nibblies for our family Christmas do I gladly accepted and (rather masochistically) began to devise recipes comprised of all my favourites for savoury stuffs to give me a break from all of the sweets baking I’ve been doing…because, you know, I don’t have nearly enough things going on to occupy my time.

Thanks to the miracles which are Tenderflake and Presidents Choice frozen pastries and a little help from the fella, I was able to get these crabesque quiches & multi-mushroom turnovers pretty quickly.

The quiches – what you need:

24 frozen tart shells (frozen ones usually come in twelves)

1 large minced red onion (you can use a regular cooking onion but I really enjoy the sweetness a red onion imparts to complement the crab)

1.5 cups of imitation crab meat or 2 cans of the real stuff

1 cup grated provolone cheese

7 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground pepper

a pinch of nutmeg

a bunch of cilantro

Before doing anything else, get the pastries out of the freezer and set them out on baking sheets so they’ll come to room temperature as you work. Preheat the oven to 425. To each shell add a teaspoon of onion then divide the crab then the cheese up evenly between them. Top each one with 2-3 cilantro leaves. In a large bowl whisk the remaining ingredients together and divide the mixture evenly between the 24 quiches. Toss the lot of them into the cooker.

If you’re planning to freeze these (as I was) then they only need to cook for about 10 minutes or until the egg has set. To reheat simply pull them out of the freezer about an hour before they need to be served and toss them back into the oven preheated to 425 for about 7 minutes. If you intend to eat them right away they’ll need about 17-20 minutes of cook time off the hop.

Turnovers – what you need:

2 pkgs puff pastry

1 large minced red onion (or possibly the rest of the one from the quiches)

2 cups chopped mushrooms (I get these handy packages of mixed mushrooms which include portabello, shiitake and oyster at the grocer’s)

1 cup grated stinky cheese (I used emmenthaler I had leftover from a fondue at the weekend but other good choices would be old cheddar, edam, guyere & romano)

Preheat oven to 425. Puff pastry generally comes in packages of 2 pastries each – we’ll want to roll each of those out into 10″ x 10″ish squares then cut each square into 9 smaller squares. To each smaller square add 1 tsp onion then divide the cheese and mushrooms up among the 36 squares, fold them into triangles and press down the egdes. Toss’em on a baking sheet or stone and then into the oven for about 10 minutes or until they start to brown (if freezing) or 15-20 minutes if cooking through and eating immediately. Again, these will require about 1 hour of standing time out of the freezer and another 7 minutes in the oven at 425 to reheat.

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…or jacket potatoes or stuffed potatoes or twice baked potatoes…regardless of what one might call them they’re really, really good. Today we made the meatatarian variety (though I’ve a few great vegetarian versions up my sleeve we can talk about another time) with twice smoked bacon.

We pick this stuff up at the local farmer’s market and it’s lovely and decadent (despite its appearance) and probably something the devil threw at Dante through his little adventure. But it’s good. Really good. And well worth having to slice it one’s self.

Onto the potatoes!

What you need:

4 large cream flesh potatoes (I prefer russet potatoes, but tonight I used a generic round white because it’s what we had on hand)

1/2 lb. twice smoked bacon

1.5 cups grated marble cheese

5 scallions (green/spring onions) thinly sliced

2 tsp. dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

The washing and the baking of the potatoes should be the first step. Scrub, scrub. Bake, bake. Rub each one in a little olive oil and salt then toss ’em in some tin foil, then into the oven for an hour at 375.

Once they’re done take them out of the foil and let them cool enough to be handled. You don’t want to let them cool too much or they won’t want to get intimate with the rest of the ingredients, but don’t burn your fingers, please.

Slice each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out their guts into a bowl. Don’t worry too much about getting everything or leaving too much or too little in the shell. All of the rest of the things added to the guts will more than compensate for technique whilst allowing the final product to look worth eating so just go ahead a scoop while those potatoes are still warm.

Set the remaining skins on a baking sheet. To the bowl of guts add everything else. Stir. Stir some more. If you think you’re done stir again for good measure. Toss the guts back into the potato skins and toss those in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes or until they’ve got that lovely golden brown hue as in the picture above.

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